By Tom Crosby, Marketing Manager, LSN
As a branding, messaging and marketing tool, digital publications are unmatched in their ease of use, cost-effectiveness, and wide deliverability. Whether it is a monthly journal, a weekly newsletter, or a mailing targeted at a list of people you want to keep updated, the savvy life science marketing department will ultimately make use of this medium to gain exposure for their brand and deliver the message to your prospective marketplace.
The benefits of web marketing are as innumerable as they are beneficial; this is no truer for any industry than it is for the life sciences. By instantaneously connecting the entire range of professionals – from drug developers to business developers – the conversations that bring life-saving technologies to market are facilitated in time frames that were unimaginable just decades ago.
Recently, LSN helped a client with a targeted mailing in a fundraising campaign. The client is a drug developer with a novel treatment for an orphan disease for which there was previously no relief, short of disabling the patient’s immune system. The mailing, which went out to a vetted list of 300 new investor contacts, was aimed at developing a pipeline of investor candidates to help raise funds to complete the drug’s clinical trials.
The goal was to broaden the range of investors from VC’s and grants, to mid-level PE, family offices, foundations, and new corporate venture. And by the end of the same day that the mailing went out, there was a 20% open rate for the email (or 67 opens), with 7 actually clicking on the link to his executive summary provided in the email. Three different foundations dedicated to the exact condition had even seen the call to action, and followed the links to his website.
Considering the Basics of Newsletters
Targeted mailings are only effective in special situations, however. One of the best methods for reaching your audience on a regular basis is some sort of digital canvass, followed up with a phone call canvass. Smaller firms often choose to go with a newsletter-type outreach to their target audience, because it works well to provide ongoing status updates regarding the progress of a company’s product development. At LSN, for example, we make it a weekly objective of ours to write about something industry-related; usually, it is wherever our work takes us throughout the week. The trick is to cover relevant, interesting, and useful information. With a little focus, the right topics inevitably come to light. After all, we are all daily consumers of media. If it interests you, there’s a good chance it will interest industry peers.
In reality, content is one of the easy parts of producing a newsletter. There are many other things to consider when launching your company newsletter that may seem insignificant, but can actually have a large impact on the success or failure of your web marketing campaign. For instance, when will you send your email: early in the morning, or after lunch? Do you wait for California to wake up, or catch Europe in their offices before the end of the day? And on what day of the week? These are just a few of the questions that you must ask yourself when beginning any online campaign. Failure to consider any of these things could mean your mailing gets buried, and the right set of eyes never sees it.
Another important aspect of your mailing campaign is whether you’ll facilitate the mailing in-house, or if you’ll let a third party handle the delivery. Until the last few years, the best option may have been the former. And for smaller operations with a smaller amount of targets to reach, it may still be; it isn’t difficult to manage a list of 500 emails, even with Microsoft Outlook. However, the advantages that third-party clients offer are vast, and they’re getting better all the time.
One of these advantages is flexibility. Doing an in-house mailing means that you either have to keep it simple, or have someone that knows HTML. Third-party sites like Constant Contact, iContact, and Benchmark – in addition to traditional HTML – offer the choice of using browser-integrated creation software. This gives you the opportunity to go as simple as an introductory letter, to as complex as an industry-standard newsletter, while maintaining a professional look and feel along the way.
The biggest advantage of using a newsletter hosting service, however, is using the integrated contact management tools. This covers everything from subscription management to performance tracking. Without help, these tasks can be fairly daunting, even for experienced users, because of the legal implications involved. And while it is interesting and useful to be able to track the success of your newsletter or targeted mailing down to the finest detail, if you are not 100% compliant with the law, your campaign will not get too far. The peace of mind alone is worth your monthly subscription fees. With the health of your contact list constantly being monitored, you are free to focus on the quality of your content and design.
If you are successful in keeping your content at a high level of quality, and don’t step on too many toes along the way, your mailings will eventually pay off. Like most things, it takes time, and a lot of patience; investors aren’t likely to make allocations based on a few well-written articles. However, email correspondence is absolutely vital, and by keeping yourself and your firm on the minds of the right people, your efforts will ultimately pay off in a big way.